Who doesn’t love a delicate piece of chocolate melting on their tongue? The creaminess of this delicacy is hard to substitute with anything else. But when you’re both a chocolate and a wine lover, the natural question that comes to mind is, “what wines go with chocolate?”
Thinking about the sweet delight paired with wine seems like a crazy idea. After all, your chocolate certainly pairs better with a coffee cocktail. So, why would you break the rule and go for a glass of your favorite vino?
This guide aims to show you why to pair chocolate with wine. Then, check out below a few fantastic wine and chocolate pairing ideas to use when you want to surprise your loved ones.
Why and How To Pair Chocolate With Wine?
The first thing to assess before jumping to pairing your milk chocolate with a full-body Syrah is why to pair chocolate with wine. There are a few simple rules to follow to make sure your experiment doesn’t end with a fail.
The first thing to think of is the type of chocolate you enjoy. Is it a sweet white chocolate? A dry red would make an awful combination. Perhaps a sweet dessert wine is a better choice, especially if it’s a white wine.
Dark chocolate goes best with semi-dry red wines. Since both chocolate and red wine have tannins, you can quickly go for a light-body Syrah or a fruity Pinot Noir. When choosing the right red for your chocolate, remember that your best bet are the wines with fresh fruity notes.
What Wines Go With Chocolate?
White chocolate is not exactly chocolate, as there is no cocoa involved. The product is achieved from cocoa butter and seduces with soft, delightful aromas. White chocolate is often flavored with red fruits, such as berries, rose petals, and sometimes even hazelnuts.
The white goodness pairs wonderfully with white wines, and in particular with sparkling wines.
Traditional pairings see white chocolate with a sweet dessert wine; perhaps an inspired choice is an Italian Moscato d’Asti, a slightly bubbly vino that seduces from the first sip. Another great option is a sweet Spanish Sherry. Your best bet is perhaps a vintage Pedro Ximenez.
Ice wine is another inspired combination. This very sweet wine originating from Germany or Austria brings fruitiness to the pairing, enhancing the sweet aromas of white chocolate.
However, if you’re eager to find some out of the ordinary pairings, know your white chocolate pairs heavenly with a selection of reds.
One of the best red wines to pair with white chocolate is Pinot Noir. The fat of the chocolate adds flavor to the characteristic raspberry and red cherry hints of the wine. Beaujolais is another excellent choice.
Similar to Pinot Noir, this wine offers distinctive black currant and blueberry flavors which cut off the sweetness of the chocolate.
If you’re after more subtle notes of raspberry, the Italian Brachetto d’Acqui is another inspired choice, while a Rosé Port offers rich flavors of strawberry and black currant which make a sophisticated match with the chocolate’s sweetness.
Milk chocolate is perhaps the most popular “true” chocolate and the easiest to pair with wine. Consisting of half dark chocolate half cream, this goodness is characterized by a creamy fattiness that melts in an explosion of flavors.
Milk chocolate comes in multiple forms, from traditional chocolate bars to the heavenly chocolate truffles dusted with cocoa powder.
Just like white chocolate, milk chocolate works wonders with sparkling wines. Choose a red one this time, such as Brachetto d’Acqui, which is a great option for a delicate chocolate truffle. Another inspired choice for fruity milk chocolate is a bubbly Prosecco or Champagne.
Late harvest red wines including Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Petite Sirah are three other great choices.
Lambrusco di Sobara is another excellent sparkling red that enhances the delicacy of milk chocolate with its subtle hints of white peach and strawberry.
Fortified wines also match perfectly with the milk chocolate. Ruby Port or Marsala are two exciting choices which enhance the flavors of chocolate, adding an interesting spiced aftertaste.
Some of the best white wines to consider for this combination are the sweet dessert wines like a late harvest Riesling or sweet white Moscato.
Praised for its health benefits, dark chocolate is consumed by many wine lovers, although only a few think of pairing it with the beverage. This bittersweet delicacy goes marvelously with a wide range of dry red wines, although some exceptional pairings can also be achieved with whites and fortified wines.
Dark chocolate goes from mild to strong, and the term defines any chocolate that contains at least 35% cocoa.
The cocoa concentration calls for a robust, full-body wine that can enhance the tannins in the bar with the chocolate aftertaste of the beverage.
Zinfandel is a good example of wine that pairs heavenly with dark chocolate. The dense fruity aromas and energetic spicy flavors enjoy a true legacy with dark chocolate and delight novice and wine connoisseurs alike.
Perhaps the best terroir for a great Zinfandel to pair with dark chocolate is California, and in Lodi there is even an annual Wine & Chocolate festival to attend.
Another bold wine to pair with your goodness is Cabernet Sauvignon. The full body of this wine goes heavenly well with the defined tannins in darker chocolate. Pinot Noir and Merlot are two other inspired options.
Fortified wines also pair well with this chocolate choice. Tawny and Vintage Port are the most popular options but if you aim for something unusual, serve your chocolate bar with a glass of French Banyul.
Aromatized wine, such as Chianto from Piedmont, enhances the strong flavor of the dark chocolate with subtle hints of cherry and exotic spices. On the same note, you can pair your goodness with a flavorful Vin Santo di Chianti which will impress your palate with its rich nuttiness.
Chili chocolate is perhaps the most popular spiced chocolate out there. The hot spice aftertaste of this delicacy is not for the faint hearted, but it goes wonderfully with Spanish red wine.
Rioja is a fine example of a young but flavorful red to pair with chili chocolate. The exotic aromas of this wine, its silky texture, and the subtle flavors go perfectly with the spiciness of the chocolate. The sensation of heat is enhanced by the wine, bringing your experience to a whole new level.
Another great option is Gewurztraminer. This wine is not red and definitely not dry, but its sweetness complements the spiciness in a heavenly way, without overwhelming the hotness of the pepper.
Perhaps your best bet is a Chilean Gewurztraminer; as for the Rioja, I’d recommend going for one from Spain.
Orange chocolate is mostly dark, and the subtle hints of the citrus remind of the holiday season. This sophisticated choice goes perfectly with a wide range of wines, from light-body reds to sweet dessert wines.
In an informal setting, your best bet is perhaps a flavorful sweet dessert wine. Moscato, either white or red, is a great choice. Ice Wine and Vin Santo are two other inspired options, while raisin wine will enhance the fruitier taste.
Sweet Riesling impresses with notes of apricot and pineapple, two fruits that go extremely well with the orange hints of your choice.
Sweet fortified wines, above all Marsala, also make a great pairing with spicier orange chocolate.
Since this dessert reminds of the Christmas, we can also imagine it alongside mulled wine. Spice up your beverage with clover and anise, drop in a hint of cinnamon, orange zest and a full cup of orange juice to complement your chocolate selection.
Whether it’s hazelnuts, chestnuts, or walnuts, nut chocolate comes in a variety of types. From milk chocolate to dark chocolate, there are dozens of options to choose from. The secret to finding a great wine to pair with your nut chocolate is to match the wine with the type of chocolate.
Milk chocolate with nuts works wonders with crisp, dry white wines. A nice example is the Italian Soave, but a very sweet Madeira can also work well. In fact, the orange notes in the fortified wine enhance the flavors of the nut chocolate.
A vintage Oloroso sherry is another great option. The intense nutty and raisin notes of the beverage complement the sweetness of a nut and fruit milk chocolate.
Dark nut chocolate pairs wonderfully with Tawny Port due to the nutty character of the wine. Moreover, the tannins in the wine enhance the flavors of the chocolate in a burst of creamy nuttiness.
Crisp and refreshing, mint chocolate pairs well with full-body dry red wines. A fine example of a great pairing is the delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. The high content of tannins in this wine enhances the strong flavor of the mint.
The best choice is a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon characterized by warm spice aromas with hints of tobacco and vanilla.
Likewise, a vintage Merlot but also a dry Argentinian Malbec work wonders with a strong mint chocolate.
Cabernet Franc is another great choice. This wine is often characterized by mint and eucalyptus hints which pair marvelously with the strong mint profile of your bar.
There is nothing more suitable to pair with the softness and creaminess of a chocolate mousse than bubbly sparkling wine.
Champagne is your best option, as the crisp texture of the wine complements the delicacy of the mousse.
Furthermore, the fat in the mousse complements the crisp, dry character of champagne. Alternatively, pair your mousse with a delicious Prosecco or a sweeter Moscato d’Asti if you’re going for a darker chocolate mousse.
A flavorful combination of white chocolate and citrus, the lemon ganache is a delight for the palate. Thing is the delicacy of this sweet is hard to match with wine.
The only possible combination is with frizzy champagne with slight notes of citrus and a pungent vegetative aroma.
Both the bubbles, the aromas, and the persistent flavors of champagne can complement the delicacy of this dessert.
Pairing wine and chocolate is a bold but rewarding idea. And now you know what wines go with chocolate, so all you have to do is get out there and find your perfect match. I promise that seeing the surprised looks of your friends when tasting chocolate with wine will be priceless.